Friday, February 25, 2011

Certified Staff Can TELL Kentucky

In the coming weeks, every certified staff member in Kentucky’s public schools will have an opportunity to provide feedback to their schools, districts and state agency concerning working conditions. Through a survey document called TELL Kentucky, we will be asking certified staff to let us know about working conditions in areas such as leadership, facilities, resources, professional development, empowerment and time.

TELL stands for Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning. As a local superintendent in North Carolina, I found the feedback from the survey extremely important in improving student learning results for our school system. Kentucky is now joining North Carolina, Maryland, Tennessee and several other states in administering the survey. This summer, we will have comparative data on many survey questions, and we will have data on Kentucky specific issues.

There has been some confusion as to the sponsor of the survey. They survey was approved by the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE), and funding was provided through federal Title II funds and grant dollars. Many partners have supported the development of the communication and administration plans for the survey. We also have strong support from the Governor’s Office. For more information about the partners, please visit

There also has been some confusion over how the results will be used. The results WILL NOT be used as part of an accountability model. We are hoping to recognize schools and districts who have high percentages of participation. The results WILL be used by school-based decision making councils, schools, districts, the Kentucky Department of Education, KBE and numerous other organizations to improve the working conditions in our schools and districts. In the states that have been using the survey for a number of years, the survey results often have been used to implement school improvement team policy changes and local board policy changes, and even state statutes and regulations have been changed based on results from the survey.

I am very excited that we can offer this survey to all of our certified staff in Kentucky. I firmly believe that by addressing working conditions in our schools and districts, we will have a positive impact on student learning results, reduce teacher turnover rates and make a long-term impact on the economy of Kentucky.

I strongly encourage every certified staff member in Kentucky to take the survey and monitor the participation rates for your school and district through the TELL Kentucky Web page.

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